Monday, June 28, 2010

Our Missionaries Serving Throughout the World

My Mom and Dad are serving in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Dad and Mom (Elder and Sister Tanner) With Elder and Sister Pieper of the Seventy. June 2010 in the Canada Halifax Mission office.

Zone conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 21 Jun 2010


And my nephew is serving in the Guatemala City North Mission. In just the past few weeks in a matter of 7 days, residents of Guatemala and parts of neighboring Honduras and El Salvador have had to cope with a volcanic eruption and ash fall, a powerful tropical storm, the resulting floods and landslides, and a frightening sinkhole in Guatemala City that swallowed up a small building and an intersection. Gage said many thought it was the end.

Tropical storm destroys dozens of member homes
By Jason Swensen

Church News staff writer
Published: Saturday, June 5, 2010

Thousands of members in Central America were left reeling from a two-fisted combo of natural disasters that killed hundreds, destroyed homes by the thousands and prompted a ongoing Church humanitarian response.

Guatemala's Pacaya volcano erupted May 27, spewing lava and rocks and blanketing sections of Guatemala City — located 19 miles to the north — in ash and debris. The eruption forced the evacuation of hundreds of families living near Pacaya, including several member families. The international airport in the Guatemalan capital was also closed because of the ashy conditions.

Associated Press

A massive sinkhole covering a street intersection in downtown Guatemala City is an indication of the heavy rains caused by Tropical Storm Agatha, causing a crater that swallowed a three-story building.

Two days after the volcanic eruption, Tropical Storm Agatha made landfall along the Guatemala-Mexico border. As it moved south, Agatha dumped more than a foot of rain and triggering deadly landslides in parts Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The flooding has claimed almost 200 lives, including some 150 in Guatemala. Dozens of others were injured or were still missing at press time. Meanwhile, an estimated 129,000 people in the region had to be evacuated to safer locations.

Photo courtesy Central America Area

Within days, Guatemalans had to endure the eruption of a volcano and the destruction of a deadly tropical storm. The catastrophes caused major destruction in the city of Xela.

All missionaries and members are safe and accounted for. Still, the double-disaster has exacted a sobering cost to Central American Latter-day Saints. An estimated 1,200 Guatemalan members have been "significantly impacted" by the storm and volcanic eruption, according to Church welfare services. Four-hundred members in El Salvador and Honduras, respectively, have also been affected. About 70 member homes were destroyed or washed away during the flooding.

Photo courtesy of Central America Area

Members from the Quetzaltenango Guatemala El Bosque Stake collect and sort donated clothing to be distributed to victims of recent natural disasters in Guatemala and neighboring Central American countries. The Church has provided food, medicine and other emergency provisions. future humanitarian efforts will help members rebuild and replant fields that had been washed away in the flooding.

Many members were devastated by the disaster. Sister Sara Perez, a widow and mother of six children, lost all of her possessions when a mudslide washed away her home near Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

Photo courtesy Central America Area

Tropical Storm Agatha caused damage to tens of thousands of structures in Central America, including homes seen here in Xela, Guatemala.

"I was with my children when the mudslide hit our home," she said in a filmed interview with public affair workers from the Central America Area. "The corner of our home just collapsed. Fortunately, the Church members have been here to help."

No Church meetinghouses were harmed by the disasters and many building are being utilized to shelter LDS families who have been displaced.

Authorities and priesthood leaders in the Central America Area went into action at the first sign of trouble. Many members families were evacuated before Agatha hit and coordination between Area Seventies, stakes presidents and Church facilities managers has been ongoing from the beginning.

Luis Echeverria, AP

Aerial view of the sinkhole in Guatemala City.

The Church provided emergency food, water, clothing and tools to victims and local priesthood leaders. The Central America Area was also working with civil authorities in the three affected Central American nations to purchase and distribute medicine, building supplies and other relief provision.

As Pacaya settles and the storms clear, the Church plans to continue providing basic necessities to those in emergency need even as it evaluates the long-term impact to be felt by affected member families. Priesthood leaders are developing a plan to construct and repair home, providing Church-purchased building materials and member labor. Some families will also be provided seeds to replace crops washed away by the deluge.

Local leaders being lauded for their initiative, efforts
By Jason Swensen
Church News staff writer
Published: Saturday, June 12, 2010


Members left decimated by the recent flooding and mudslides in Guatemala and neighboring countries are finding relief thanks largely to the hard work and capacity of local priesthood and Relief Society leaders.

Photo courtesy Central America Area

Members and missionaries in Guatemala City, Guatemala, fill relief kits with food and other emergency provisions to deliver to victims of recent natural disasters in Central America.

Elder Williams in the Rain (around end of May)

Elder Williams (around June 2-9)

Gage loved this sign, it means sharing the glory of God! How wonderful!
(around June 16-19)

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